Swedish Committee for Afghanistan Conference

By: Richard Bennett,

On November 30th 2023, RWI Afghanistan Programme research fellow Sonia Eqbal and UN Special Rapporteur and RWI visiting professor Richard Bennett attended a conference organised by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference featured a wide range of Afghan and non-Afghan researchers, human rights defenders, and political professionals commenting on the current situation in Afghanistan. Titled ‘Afghanistan Beyond Humanitarian Support – Navigating Challenges and Opportunities’, the conference focus was on ways to improve not only the acute human rights situation in Afghanistan, but also on ways to amend structural issues in the country. 

RWI Research Fellow Sonia Eqbal joined a panel conversation on how to support Afghan women and girls, emphasising the importance of including, consulting, and recognizing women in the struggle for human rights in Afghanistan. 

UN special rapporteur and RWI visiting professor Richard Bennett delivered a keynote commenting on a wide range of issues, including the importance of remaining constructive, saying that it is not about what the situation is, but rather what can be done about it. Furthermore, Bennett also participated in a panel discussing how to approach today’s reality from an international perspective. 

Discussing the human rights situation in Afghanistan from a constructive point of view, the panellists were asked to consider potential ways forward for Afghanistan, proposing ways in which the international community can engage and work effectively in the country. Ending on a positive note, the conference panellist Kate Clark concluded that we can still see small avenues of hope, emphasising that the Taliban still haven’t entirely closed the door to issues like education for girls and women. It is towards these avenues of hope that the international community can direct their focus, and ultimately, little by little, help make a difference for the entire Afghan population. 

We refer you to  SCAs webpage and social media channels for further information. 

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